A Passion for Excellence
Excerpt from Acts 8:4-13
“But when Philip came to town announcing the news of God’s kingdom and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ, they forgot Simon and were baptized, becoming believers right and left! Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip’s shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn’t leave Philip’s side.”
Reflection by Ron Buford
The Simon in this story, a great magician and healer, is fascinating. A new guy, the great Apostle Phillip, comes to town and dramatically upstages him, Simon does something that most of us find challenging.
Simon’s followers just up and leave him on the spot. But here’s the surprise . . . Simon goes along, too!
Simon’s desire for excellence eclipses any feelings of shame he might have had. Without bad-mouthing Phillip, like a good scientist, he apprentices and shadows Phillip’s every move. Determined to learn, though not at all a novice, his passion for discovery is unrelenting.
Passion for excellence with focus produces results, at any age. Simon models this ability, turning envy into a stepping stone to greatness, despite the taunting and teasing he must have received.
The biblical story says Simon was baptized. Why? Phillip knew that the power Simon sought would only come when Simon’s hunger was fed not only by study, but also by an infilling of God’s mystical power from above.
Whether healing through science and surgery, taking the hand of a child, baking a cake, doing research, preaching a sermon, or sending a get-well card, let us strive to study and do excellently, to learn from the best and do our very best. We can do this knowing the One who acts alongside us: the One who is still speaking, still acting, still enhancing the good; still transforming even our deepest, most secret darkness into light.
Gracious God, whether I am continuing the work of a great predecessor, intimidated as I work with someone great, or even being displaced by someone who is doing greater things than I ever imagined, help me recognize, celebrate, and learn – preoccupied not with myself, but with the ongoing fulfillment of Your promise, Your coming realm on the earth. Amen.
About the Author
Ron Buford, former coordinator of the UCC’s God is still speaking campaign, currently serves as Director of Development for the Northern California Nevada Conference. A consultant, group leader and speaker, he appears in Living the Questions: Resourcing Progressive Christians.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
My YouTube Channel
God is still speaking
John Mark Ministries